Back Injury Reduction in the Fire Department of New York Emergency Medical Service [open pdf - 216KB]
"The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) expends significant resources to compensate for the considerable number of back injuries that are incurred by its members of the Emergency Medical Service Command (EMSC). The problem is that the frequency of these injuries impacts the ability of the FDNY EMSC to perform in an efficient manner. The purpose of the research was to determine the most common causes for the back injuries that occur and recommend best practices to reduce them. The data that was reviewed confirms the frequency of reported back injuries but the quality of the data to determine the circumstances is vague and suspected to be less than accurate. Descriptive research was used to answer the questions: (a) what back injury prevention training is provided to newly hired members enrolled in the Training Orientation Program (TOP) at the FDNY EMS Academy; (b) what fitness requirements, if any, should be necessary for FDNY EMSC members once they have completed their basic training as newly hired employees; (c) what trends can be identified for the FDNY EMSC members who suffer from back injuries; and (d) how does the frequency of back injuries impact the FDNY EMSC? Procedures included interviews with subject matter experts with experience in physical fitness training, patient handling equipment selection, and workers compensation claims. The results of the procedures led the author to conclude that there needs to be better training, more efficient selection of the best ergonomic patient handling equipment, and comprehensive investigation practices regarding the circumstances of back injuries. The author recommends that fitness requirements be elevated for FDNY EMSC candidates, patient handling equipment selection be conducted in an efficient, structured manner, and that a safety officer is created to accurately investigate the circumstances of back injuries."
United States. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Learning Resource Center: http://www.lrc.fema.gov/